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Basic skills

As one element of the 'supplier chain' I have always believed strongly that business should, can and does, play a major role in preparing young people for the world beyond school.

Schools and colleges, teachers, lecturers, pupils and students do not exist in a vacuum and the need for businesses to engage in a socially responsible way, particularly in education, is a key to good business.

However, that engagement needs to be grounded in reality and in practical action.

What better way than addressing the issues that perennially exercise business, namely how future possible employees communicate in the areas of literacy and numeracy?

For those companies already engaged, it is clear that what emerges is a healthy respect for others based on mutually beneficial outcomes.

Businesses in the community have, in partnership with its membership and other stakeholders, been at the centre of developing a range of highly effective programmes for basic skills. These have offered the opportunity for businesses to adopt, adapt and enhance well regarded programmes which make a difference in the classroom.

The heavy focus on basic skills in both primary and secondary schools (and increasingly the tertiary sector) with the development of the National Strategies represent a clear acknowledgement that the acquisition of these skills are the key to accessing knowledge, understanding and opportunity, both within and beyond education.

It will be fascinating to see the impact of all this effort as the first generation emerges from the school system into colleges, employment and training establishments.

Certainly the expectation must be that for the majority of young people, mastery in these areas will have addressed the often repeated concerns of businesses.

I look forward to that day.

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